Seriously. Okay, it took me a while to try the Chinese-style stir fry vegetables in the Everyday Cookbook. I didn’t believe it would work. Or it would be a very poor version. A chopped up mushy horrible interpretation of a stir fry. I really only tried it because my lovely area manager told me to. Its part of my job as a Thermomix consultant to try the seemingly impossible and see if it is actually impossible. Because not all the recipes are for everyone. You’ll never guess what happened. Lo, tasty, al dente vegetables in their julienned forms emerged. I have now made it as a side for many meals. The next step was imminent.
Fried rice. That combination (as I know it) of left over roast meat, vegetables, rice and your choice of the sauce on hand – soy, fish, oyster. Maybe an egg on top either omelette form or fried, so you can squish the viscous centre through the rice as its own unctuous sauce. I do like to add some tabasco through my cooked rice dishes too. It might be sacrilege but I put it on risotto sometimes too. You don’t have to.
Quirky Jo had a fried rice recipe. I have come to trust this woman knows what she is talking about with her recipes. She can cook tasty things. As always, though, I have my own tweaks. My leftover roast meat is a slow cooked pork (no skin, just a nice covering of fat, scored), that was marinated in a little salt and a lot of brown sugar for 24 hours, then cooked slow for 4 or 5 hours until it is soft and you can shred it into a molassesy deliciousness. It is beautiful in its first incarnation served with iceberg lettuce as a wrap, filled with rice, shreds of pork, chopped spring onion mixed with ginger and soy, and some kind of pickle – my favourite being watermelon rind pickle – all a version of a momofuku dish, taken from various blogs on this fantastic combination of flavours, e.g., the bitten word. As the meat in a fried rice it is almost as divine. Paired with some fried bacon its particularly awesome. I try to limit pork consumption to once or twice a month. When I have it I like to make it worthwhile.
So, here is what I did. Pour a 400ml can of coconut milk (or cream, as it is what I had in the cupboard) in the bowl. Pour another 500g water in as well. Insert steamer basket and weigh in 400g basmati or jasmine rice. Close the lid, put the MC on and swish the water around for 20 seconds on Speed 7 or 8. You want all the rice wet so it steams through. Heat on Varoma for 20 minutes, Speed 4. As it heats up, chop some veggies to add to the Varoma basket – chopped carrot, broccoli, zucchini, snow peas, bok choy, spring onions, whatever you have on hand and you can convince yourself have some Asian affiliation. Put them in the basket as you chop – harder veg like carrot first – replacing the lid each time so the steam can do its cooking. Quirky Jo steamed some chicken or prawns or bacon underneath the veg at this point. I draw the line at steaming bacon. I want it crispy. And I want my leftover slow cooked pork crispy. So in the fry pan they went, helped with some rendered fat from bacon rinds I like to turn into pre dinner crisps. Crunchy, salty with the sweetness of the melted sugar. Mix with rice and vegetables when each are done.
Whisk 4-5 eggs with some garlic chives or parsley (if you happen to have them growing in the garden as I do) or just some salt and pepper. Wet a sheet of baking paper, screw it up and wring out extra water, then line Varoma tray with it, place on top of vegetables and pour in egg mixture. I was supervising bath time at the same time, so the eggs went on a little late. I removed rice and veg and mixed together in the Thermoserver, added some more water to the bowl and put the eggs back on to steam until it sets. Chop roughly and mix through rice, pork, bacon and vegetables. Serve with or without tabasco. Throw your wok away.
There is a new Thermomix YouTube video featuring WA chef Matt Stone making almond milk and then making a rice pudding with it. I was tempted to make almond milk because it sounded like a challenge and I tasted a lovely version at a Thermomix consultant gluten free cooking class. So away I went.
I ended up following the recipe given by Quirky Cooking for rice and almond milk. I soaked 50g brown rice and 40g whole almonds plus 4 or 5 pitted dates in 1 litre of water overnight then blended them in the Thermomix on Speed 9 for 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of either flavourless or complementing flavour oil (eg, macadamia, grapeseed, coconut) to give a creamier texture to the milk. Cook for 6 minutes at 60 degrees, Speed 4. Puree on Speed 9 for 1 minute. Let it cool for a bit. Strain into a vessel through muslin if you have some handy, or a nut bag if you are even handier or through a fine sieve if you are me and new to the requirement for fine straining of nut milks. Keep the resulting sludge and either put it in some kind of cake batter if you are baking straight away or dry out in a low oven for a bit to make it less sludgy and more like an almond/rice/date meal to use later. Or you can look at the video mentioned above and do it his way.
Rice pudding I have not had much patience for. My mother was very good at making it, therefore I have a nostalgic hankering for it now and then. Until Thermomix, however, I have only attempted it once or twice before. Like custard it just takes too long on the stovetop and is too fraught with burning opportunities or an unpleasant outcome that makes me want to throw the saucepan in the bin contents and all and storm off to bed. Now I had made almond milk no problems and I really wanted to see if it would taste nice in a rice pudding as Mr Matt so confidently assured us it would.
The recipe given was a bit large for the two of us, so I halved it. I didn’t bother with the poached rhubarb bit, not having any on me and because I was wanting to use that plum sauce again. I found it interesting that the recipe calls for half almond milk, half pure cream. So if you are non dairy I am guessing all almond milk should work okay, just maybe end up with a bit thinner result. I put in 240g almond milk, 240g cream, a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste I made a few weeks ago (you could use half a vanilla bean split and scraped, or even vanilla essence) and cooked for 8 minutes on 90 degrees on Speed 2. I then added 100g arborio rice (as I am unaware of Rainfed rice as specified in the recipe, something I am sure will be corrected next time I see some of my extremely knowledgeable Thermomix colleagues) and cooked 20 minutes at 90 degrees on Reverse, Speed 2. Matt Stone didn’t say to put on Reverse but I was a little scared not to, not wanting to make rice paste for dessert.
On tasting, the rice was cooked but it needed a little more sugar, so I sprinkled some cinnamon sugar in and poured some plum sauce in then mixed on Speed 1 for 5 seconds (again worrying about turning it into a paste). It made a good amount for two. Sploshing some more plum sauce on top made it look prettier and gave it a great flavour. The almond milk didn’t make itself strongly known, but I did notice that after finishing I didn’t feel like I had a brick in my tummy as I did the last time I ate rice pudding. I think I shall make this again.